April 14th, 2007


No Longer Are Gay People Responsible For AIDS, You'll Be Pleased to Hear

Australia should refuse to allow migrants or refugees with HIV to enter the country, Prime Minister John Howard has said.

Mr Howard said there may be special cases when an exemption could be considered but as a rule HIV-positive people should be denied entry.

Mr Howard was asked about the issue during a visit to Victoria state, which has seen a sharp rise in HIV cases.


Victoria's public health officials have blamed the rise in HIV cases partly on overseas immigrants, but also on Australian residents relocating from other parts of the country.

Okay, so the gay community moved to Melbourne, too.

As you can plainly see, however, Australia is not at all run by a bunch of inhumane racists. No. Not at all. Perish the thought.

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Death Watch, Two.

Yesterday, Ben Payne (benpayne), the editor and publisher of the lo-fi zine, Potato Monkey, announced it's closure.

This, like the Shadowed Realms closure, is in truth hardly surprising: after a hiatus of a couple of years, Payne managed two issues in two years (the last one will be out shortly), and the zine flew under a lot of radars, which is a polite way of saying no one really paid any attention. It was the last of the old school zines from the nineties, which were printed out on home computers, stapled, and with a cardboard cover, usually one colour. I had seen a couple like this round the time, each subscribing to the DIY ethic, but none of them subscribing to it enough that it became something truly beautiful to look at--DIY spec fic people rarely are the type to embrace a fine arts ethic to design, I've found, and I've come across some really beautiful zines when that happens. Anyhow, Potato Monkey was, in truth, a bit of an ugly little thing, which was both its strength and weakness--but as with Shadowed Realms, the editor involved is moving on to other projects, though none have the DIY style of the Monkey.

Like before, I was published in Potato Monkey as well, and had another story slated to appear, some time in the future. This was the last of the Allandros and Balor stories. For those who have never read them (quite a few, I imagine), a few years back I wanted to create a sword and sorcery series, similar to the Mouser and Fafhrd stories by Fritz Leiber, and so I made a mash of steampunk, sword and sorcery, westerns, and faerie mythology, of which the only supporter was ever really Payne. The final story I wrote with them was a novelette called 'the Seven Whistlers', and I figure I'm just going to let it fade away, much like the rest of the stories, both published and unpublished. They were a hard sell, and the itch that I had from them is gone, with the Red Sun stuff filling the void for me, though albeit without the sword fights, chicken feet, and funky footnoting that I enjoyed (I really did enjoy writing them--I laughed at every bad thing I had the two characters do, and the rejections for them were always fun as well). My plan--and I'll share it, since I'll never get to do it now--was to write each series of short fiction as a 'season', structured in a similar way to, say, a season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Deadwood, and so on and so forth. In the end, what you would have was a kind of large, broken up novel, eight to ten episodes, each section eight to ten thousand words, except the finale, which would be about twice that.

Never happened--I never got close, really, since it was such a bitch to sell--but I always liked the idea. One day, perhaps. If my head returns to that mindset.
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